Thank you to Ralphie from SimplyOnPurpose.org for this challenge and opportunity to reflect on what kind of mom I am, and see all the other beautiful kinds of moms that are out there. There are so many “right answers.” Here’s “my answer”:
A work in progress:
I’ve only been at this mom gig for three (and three quarters!) years now. I’m a work in progress – always learning and growing, and discovering what it is to be a mom. I’m navigating how to take care of two instead of just one. I work on patience and grace daily. I have had to look inward at my insecurities and issues and work on them outwardly. I strive to be change I want to see to raise strong, confident, kind kids. I embrace my quirkiness now.
Not perfect yet enough:
Goodness gracious. I am a Type A, perfectionist to the core and I crave order, planning, and routine. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a daily routine (many, many, many times). I’ve made another one to try on Monday (I’ll keep you posted!) Every time I feel I have it down, especially recently, Mon Amour’s (MA) natural rhythms change – I won’t compete with that.
I want to read more stories to MA every day, I want to have a morning activity every morning for Mon Cœur (MC), I want to make sure I am speaking in French for the majority of the time, I want to instill confidence in MC, I want, I want, I want….
Despite all these daily ambitions, at the end of the day, when I think back to what we did, a lot of times we haven’t accomplished most of what I wanted to…but I made sure to feed the kids, love them, clothe them, and bathe them. They are content, and I am grateful for that.
Resilient and sensitive:
I think growing up, my parents were always worried I was sensitive, especially when people passed away. They weren’t wrong. I am a very feeling person. As an adult, I have come to view life events with a different lens.
As a child, death was a final goodbye. As an adult, death was a reprieve from suffering and pain. I still cried over Daddy’s death, and I still missed him, but I knew he was no longer in pain. I put on a strong face, and our family made sure to celebrate his life. Both MC and Millie made me strong.
It was after Millie’s delivery and the finality of the stillbirth that a new wave of loss hit me and knocked me to my knees. I was grieving my father again and concurrently my daughter whom I had met, but would never come to know and love more than the 38 weeks she was growing inside of me.
As a family, with MC, we grieved (and still grieve), we were honest, and we continue to find ways to honor and include Millie in our family even though she is no longer with us. MC often asks about Millie, and I always answer honestly and am open with my emotions when we talk together.
Just the other day we were working in the garden, planting new plants, and checking on the flowers from last year, and I thought out loud, “This is so exciting!” And I immediately thought to myself…Hmm this doesn’t sound right. I can feel excited to have a beautiful garden in memory of Millie and I can still feel a profound aching for what we are missing.
Educator and animator:
I love to find the lesson in everything we do together. Sometimes I try to make too many things educational. The breakfast invitations, the French maternelle (pre-k) workbooks, the educational songs, the reading. I think that is the teacher in me…Here’s a lesson! There’s a learning point! How can we learn something here?
But then, we do things just for fun – art projects, playing with play dough, cooking, kitchen dance parties, slide races. We make des bêtises (messes) all the time, and then we just laugh that we made it and then clean it up…Because sometimes you just have to enjoy life for what it is, and you can’t be too serious. She’s only three and three quarters, for goodness sake.
Learning and growing:
A part of being a work in progress is that I am always learning and growing. There is so much to learn about so many different facets of parenting. I am content and confident about my mom style in general. However, there are times (like this whole past week) when I feel that I could have done better, I could have been better. There is simple beauty found in apologies. And there’s always an opportunity to do better and to be better.
Below are a few people whom I really cherish for their wisdom, so that I can be better and do better for my kids and myself:
- @simplyonpurpose – for her authentic connection to her kids, and her positive and intentional parenting. For these challenges that cause pause for reflection.
- @biglittlefeelings – for taking parenting a toddler and delivering bite-size information to try as toddler life happens.
- @drbeckyathome – for helping navigate communicating all the things I feel but am unsure how to say. For validating and explaining how’s and why’s of different emotions I sometimes feel as a parent, partner, and individual, AND how sometimes very different emotions can be felt in tandem.
- @theworkspaceforchildren – for insight on how to raise confident kids. For all the times I want to encourage confidence and bravery and am afraid my tongue will get in the way, she has words to help me along.
- @dayswithgrey – for the art of the breakfast invitation or what MC likes to call the “morning activia.”
- @busytoddler – for fun activity ideas that literally helped me get through a very pregnant summer.